Feminist Aesthetics in the Literary, Performing and Visual Arts, 1970-1990

Feminist Aesthetics in the Literary, Performing and Visual Arts, 1970-1990: An Annotated Bibliography


[This is the first part of a bibliography in five parts on feminist aesthetics. The bibliography is number 65 in the series “Wisconsin Bibliographies in Women’s Studies” published by the University of Wisconsin System Women’s Studies Librarian’s Office, 430 Memorial Library, 728 State Street, Madison, WI 53706.]

Linda Krumholz and Estella Lauter

The following annotated bibliography was prepared in 1988-90 by Linda Krumholz, then a dissertator in English at UW-Madison,as part of my book (still in progress) entitled FEMINIST INTERVENTIONS IN AESTHETICS. We share it now because we think that, beyond its obvious uses as a guide to current issues in feminist aesthetic thought, it offers a unique opportunity to see how an interdisciplinary subfield evolved within Women’s Studies during the same period when the larger interdisciplinary field of inquiry was itself taking shape. I gave Linda the broadest possible definition of the terms to be used in her search. “Feminist aesthetics” meant to me the systematic feminist study of all the arts (including what has been called the crafts), and of related individual and institutional practices of (re)cognition, interpretation and evaluation, including what has been called “aesthetic experience” and the perception of beauty. We sectioned the bibliography by media because the early essays almost always pertained to just one form of art even when their titles promised more. To make the process manageable, since we were searching across disciplinary lines, we limited our scope primarily to books and articles published in the U.S. and Canada or elsewhere in English. In general, we did not include works on single figures or historical movements unless their subjects were insufficiently represented by other works focused more directly on aesthetic issues. We included reviews only when the reviewer offered a significant theoretical point. We attempted to represent both sides of dialogues and to stay as close as possible to the language of the author’s argument. And finally, we sought to honor all of the phases and schools of feminist thought (liberal, radical, material, and so on). While we do not claim complete objectivity, we have practiced the ethic of inclusivity to the best of our abilities; if we have omitted something that you would like to see included, please send the reference to us. The final wording of each entry was determined by Linda. I would like to take this opportunity to thank her for the caring intelligence of her work. I would also thank the Frankenthal family of Green Bay for the endowment that allowed us to undertake this project. The section on Visual Arts first appeared in HYPATIA 5.2 (Summer 1990).

The abbreviations used in this bibliography are as follows: the journals CANADIAN WOMEN’S STUDIES (CWS); CRITICAL INQUIRY (CI); FEMINIST ART JOURNAL (FAJ); FEMINIST STUDIES (FS); NATIONAL WOMEN’S STUDIES ASSOCIATION JOURNAL (NWSAJ);RESOURCES FOR FEMINIST RESEARCH/DOCUMENTATION SUR LA RECHERCHE FEMINISTE (RFR/DFR); TULSA STUDIES IN WOMEN’S LITERATURE (TSWL) and WOMAN’S ART JOURNAL (WAJ). Also, when an article or chapter found in a book that is cited elsewhere in the bibliography, the entry gives only author/editor(s) and pages. For example, DeKoven, Marianne. “Male Signature, Female Aesthetic…” Friedman and Fuchs 72-81. The full citation for Friedman and Fuchs is found under Friedman, Ellen G. and Miriam Fuchs, ed. BREAKING THE SEQUENCE: WOMEN’S EXPERIMENTAL FICTION, in the same section of the bibliogrphy.

Estella Lauter
Frankenthal Professor, Humanistic Studies
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, December 1992